Origins/Emergence Of Internal Marketing Research Paper
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Internal Marketing and Impact on Organizational Performance
Internal marketing can be defined as marketing that faces inwards (towards employees) rather than outwards (towards customers) (Mahnert & Torres, 2007). It is also known as internal branding, which is “the concerted, inter-departmental and multi-directional internal communications effort carried out in order to create and maintain an internal brand” (Mahnert & Torres 2007, p. 54). The concept originated in services marketing, in which seeing to employees’ needs was seen to provide better performance and returns for customers (Catalin, Andreea & Adina, 2014). Internal marketing has emerged roughly since the 1970s, when the focus was to perform internal marketing to internal customers; however, in the 1980s, this scope expanded to internal markets and using internal marketing to facilitate change and implement business strategy (Mahnert & Torres, 2007).
Benefits of Internal Marketing
Internal marketing has the advantage of catering to the employees of a company, thus improving their service quality. Employees are the primary ambassadors of a company through service delivery and interaction with customers, it is necessary to ensure that employees are sufficiently motivated to act in the best interests of the company. To that end, internal marketing was developed as a way to create an internal market within the company to cater specifically to employees/internal clients, thus further incentivizing them through psychological empowerment to work harder for their parent company. Internal marketing is shown to increase job satisfaction and employee retention, which then translates to customer satisfaction and retention (Shah, 2014).
Barriers to Internal Marketing
Interestingly enough, one of the most substantial barriers for internal marketing is traditional commercial marketing (Sanchez-Hernandez & Grayson, 2014). The practice of internal marketing can, in some instances, have a detrimental effect on employees’ relationships with their employers, as they can feel objectified and transparently ‘managed.’ This can bring about a certain hostility and resistance to corporate responsibility if they feel they are being treated robotically. To that end, it is necessary to remember that employees should be engaged interactively and holistically, rather than objectified as tools to be maintained (Sanchez-Hernandez & Grayson, 2014). Instead of using segmentation techniques to market to employees, relationship marketing and stakeholder-oriented procedures should be utilized in order to make the most of internal marketing strategies.
Implementation of Internal Marketing
When implementing internal marketing, the goal is to ensure that the organization’s internal processes are optimized; one model suggests that strategic analysis of the situation, establishing internal marketing objectives, personnel segmentation, management involvement, internal communication, employees’ involvement, and internal modeling control can bring about successful outcomes in internal marketing (Catalin, Andreea & Adina, 2014). One useful way to implement internal marketing is to use a holistic approach, in which customer needs are met through first catering to the needs of internal clients (Catalin, Andreea & Adina, 2014). Strategies like these tend to be effective if applied appropriately; Egyptian five-star hotels have been shown to implement all five dimensions of internal marketing, leading to better service and employee retention (Tag-Eldeen & El-Said, 2011).
Based on the benefits and barriers of internal marketing, and the various ways in which it can be implemented, companies are encouraged to operate along a ‘service triangle’ when implementing internal marketing (Bellaouaied & Gam, 2011). This triangle correlates customer satisfaction with staff service quality and organizational efforts, with the organization at the top of the pyramid marketing internally to staff and externally to customers (Bellaouaied & Gam, 2011). Holistic approaches must also be considered when marketing internally, in order to avoid possible dissatisfaction with a perceived feeling of manipulation and coercion. In essence, internal customers must be made to feel that their needs are earnestly being catered to, rather than viewing it as a transactional effort made to keep them happy in exchange for doing work. The best internal marketing creates an environment in which employees feel they are being cared for by their employers.
Trends of Internal Marketing
As internal marketing is not a process that is easily and clearly operationalized, there are many trends that have arisen to determine which internal marketing and branding strategies are more successful than others (Mahnert & Torres, 2007). As previously mentioned, IM was initially created for just catering to internal customers, such as employees; jobs are effectively marketed to employees in order to make them satisfied (Mahnert & Torres, 2007). However, later trends include strategies such as using IM as a strategy facilitator, helping employees understand organization objectives and encouraging them to commit to the company’s goals, as well as expanding IM into entire internal markets which see to internal customer needs in order to improve service quality (Mahnert & Torres, 2007).
Bellaouaied, M., & Gam, A. (2011). Internal marketing as a new alternative for the service
employees’ performance: an empirical study. Revue de Communication et de Marketing 139-159.
Catalin, M.C., Andreea, P., & Adina, C. (2014). A holistic approach on internal marketing
implementation. Business Management Dynamics 3(11): 9-17.
Javadein, S.R.S., Estiri, H. R., & Ghorbani, H. (2011). The role of internal marketing in creation
of sustainable competitive advantages. Trends in Applied Sciences Research 6(4): 364-374.
Mahnert, K.F., & Torres, A.M. (2007). The brand inside: the factors of failure and success in
internal branding. Irish Marketing Review. 19(1&2): 54-63.
Sanchez-Hernandez, I., & Grayson, D. (2012). Internal marketing for engaging employees on the
corporate responsibility journey. Intangible Capital 8(2): 275-307.
Shah, A. (2014). Internal marketing’s effects on employee satisfaction, product quality, customer
satisfaction & firm performance. Marketing Management Association Spring 2014 Proceedings.
Sharma, R., Binsardi, A., Green, J., & Ekwulugo, F. (2012). The application of internal
marketing (IM) in a service organization. International Journal of Business and Social Research 2(1): 25.
Tag-Eldeen, A., & El-Said, OA. (2011). Implementation of internal marketing on a sample of
Egyptian five-star hotels. Anatolia 22(2): 153-167.
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